Castor-Brown: Use Valley Forge Casino Funds for Route 422
Would require approval in state legislature
The Brown-Castor campaign for Montgomery County Commissioner has its eyes on the coming Valley Forge Casino Resort. Specifically, on the revenue it's expected to generate. Right now, that money is slated to go to the state, not Montgomery County.
"If we have to deal with the hassle of having a casino, it is just not right that we don't get with any of the revenue," Castor said earlier this week, according to a PhillyBurbs.com report.
The campaign on Friday called on the state legislature to pass a law that would let the county collect a "host fee" that it says could be used to help fund improvements on U.S. Route 422. The casino will be situated alongside the highway, which runs roughly parallel to the Schuylkill River through central and western Montgomery County and is widely regarded as over capacity.
The question of where to obtain the money to improve Route 422 has led to numerous proposals, the most well known of which would convert the highway into a toll road. Castor and Brown oppose that idea, which has met with hostility from most residents and politicians.
The campaign said other counties collect "host fees" from similar establishments.
"As it stands now, host fee revenue from the new Valley Forge Casino Resort would—unlike in other counties—be funneled through the state and could only be used to fund specified programs. Those programs do not include road improvements," the campaign said in a statement sent to the media late Friday afternoon.
The campaign for Josh Shapiro and Leslie Richards, Castor and Brown's opponents for the two commissioners' seats, called the proposal "laughable."
"Josh Shapiro fought against and voted against the bill that took the casino proceeds away from the taxpayers of Montgomery County. Where were Mr. Castor and Ms. Brown when that battle was taking place? Commissioner Castor just seemed to become aware of this in the past week," said campaign spokesperson Frank Custer, Jr. in an e-mail to Patch on Saturday.
Custer said improvements to Route 422 would cost more than $750 million.
"The casino proceeds would not fill the potholes on 422, let alone make a dent in the cost of the project," Custer said.
The casino is expected to open next spring.